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The Sheep Look Up

The nightmare of political modernism.

by
J.R. Dunn

Bio

June 14, 2013 - 12:21 am
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Thanks to the media, scandals like the ones dogging the Obama administration are usually viewed through a Beltway lens — how they will affect the current administration, the current Congress, whatever legislation or programs happen to be in the spotlight. The opinions of the country at large are not sought and would not be welcomed

The reverse is much the same. Most ordinary people — those not directly involved in politics — pay little attention to government scandals beyond their limited entertainment value. The details are generally esoteric, the relevance to daily life difficult to establish. Political scandals are usually ignored amid busy personal and work lives, serving only to once more reassert the ancient truism that all politicians are thieves.

But there exists a certain class of scandal that defies all the rules, that breaks down the barriers between the Beltway and the country at large. Teapot Dome and Watergate are among these. In the past week, the constellation of interrelated scandals — Benghazi, the IRS, Justice, and NSA — termed “scandalpalooza,” has achieved that status.

The synchronous nature of this megascandal has played a large role in fixing the attention of the public. Out of ineptitude or bad luck, or most likely a combination of the two, all of them have peaked within weeks of each other. For months, there has been no break from Obama scandals; when the latest one begins to pall, there arises a new revelation about another, and when that one fades, hit the dirt! … Here’s a completely new one out of nowhere!

Artillerymen have a technique called “time on target,” in which guns from different batteries are synchronized so that the rounds all hit a target simultaneously. Somewhere, something has called “time on target” on the Obama administration.

But it is the latest scandal involving the National Security Agency that has truly focused public attention. Benghazi had death under terrifying circumstances, the IRS scandal had the most feared federal agency on the rampage against innocent citizens, the Justice Department scandal had reporters targeted for doing their jobs. But it is the NSA scandal that has provided the context for all the others, that has brought them together as a bleak and brooding menace threatening American life as it has always been lived.

In this age of jihad, Americans understood that some adjustments to everyday habits had to be made. Much as they had accepted rationing during WW II, they acquiesced to the Patriot Act, to random searches, to tightened restrictions at airports (though the notorious “full-figure” scanners aroused serious opposition, particularly after it was learned that they were deliberately selected by the Transportation Safety Administration over a more discreet model. Ironically, the full-figure scanners are being phased out even as the NSA scandal erupts).  An effort by the New York Times to harass Bush administration monitoring of terror-related financial transactions went nowhere. Defense of the country has  its demands, and Americans have never been reluctant to play their part.

But this? Tracking every last phone call made in the entire country for months on end? Photographing every last piece of mail? Monitoring all e-mails? And credit-card transactions? None of this can be adequately justified by efforts to combat terror. In the public mind, it raises uneasy memories of teenage readings of The Trial and 1984, of cable reruns of The Prisoner, of that picture with that nice Will Smith being constantly shadowed by satellites.

What is this but the nightmare of political modernism? The constant watchers with cold, unsympathetic eyes. The men in trench coats falling in step as you leave your home. The knock on the door at three in the morning. The monster state crushing the individual, the “boot stamping on a human face forever.”

You cannot answer this with legalisms or minutiae. By pointing out that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) courts have been on the case since 1978, carefully overseeing all government surveillance programs, that the 1986 Electric Communications and Privacy Act (ECPA), the Patriot Act, and its supplementary legislation provided for further and even more rigorous safeguards. Or that the “concept of privacy” is “evolving” under the pressure of new technology, being “redefined” into something vaguer and more metaphysical that it was.

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Top Rated Comments   
Everything you say is utterly reasonable - and there's the rub. Our ruling class is NOT defending against jihad; instead of fighting the war that exists, they're fighting the war they want. And that is the war against the Rightist Menace they've been fighting hard since at least the Clinton years. They live in the action movie of their own minds, where the swarthy, accented, scary, foreign guy never turns out to be the bad guy: At best he's an innocent red herring, more often he's the tool of the Real Villain. And the Real Villain is always a white male right-winger of a narrow range of approved templates: The Violent Militiaman, the Corporate Polluter, the Unhinged Traumatized Veteran, the Persecuting Christian (available in Hypocrite and Sincere Fanatic models), the Military Coup Plotter, and the Conscienceless Israeli Spy. That's why your e-mail is being collected while the FBI is specifically forbidden to surveil mosques without several high-level permissions...
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
“If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.”
― Samuel Adams
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
I find your comment absolutely chilling. Do you really believe that The State should influence the behavior of individual citizens, even inadvertently? That if constant observation can prevent citizens from engaging in unsavory activities we should see that as a benefit? History shows us that the only real way to create better and more moral people is through religious belief. The progressives have had a century to disprove this fact and, if you look at the social cesspool in which we live, they haven't succeeded.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (78)
All Comments   (78)
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Public Schools & Guns
From a friend.....

Today a recently retired public school teacher that I’d not seen in several years, visited. All I ever knew of her politics was she despised Bush. We got on the subject of the grammar school boy who chewed a pop tart in the form of a gun and was expelled. I mentioned that this silliness seems to be constantly in the news all around the country. Here’s a shocker.

The lady was a member of TEA & NEA. She said that the reason this is being done is to create a generation of future voters who consider guns evil and would be more inclined to amend and remove the 2d Amendment.

If you want to change a nation’s culture, control the education of their children. In my day all education was exclusively a state operation; no federal money, no federal control, and each state’s teachers’ union was more in keeping with the politics and views of the majority voters in their state.

The first compulsory public education was in Germany long before anyone heard of the Nazis. Once the structure is set in place at the central level, it will be used by those who “know best.” If we got back to a 50 independent states school system it would defeat the attempt to make everyone think alike.

Orwell was way to early with “1984.”
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
sinz is right and all the rest of you are way off the mark. The War On Terror that ended is the one that was started by Bush, but there is another War On Terror going on. Not against Islamic terror because there is no Islamic terror - this is just a blood libel invented by Islamophobes, Zionists, fundamentalist Christians and other Nazi types - which is why the Obamadmin forbids any reference to it in any official admin or security document. The real terrorist threat comes from right wing extremists. That's why mosques where excluded from the surveillance - because everyone knows there are no right wing extremists in mosques, no Tea Pertyers, no libertarians, no dangerous constitutionalists. Such explosive individuals are to be found only among non-Muslims Americans, which is why your communications have to be monitored for your own safety. This is also why the warnings about the Tsarnaevs were ignored - because they're Muslim and therefore can't be right wing terrorists.

And of course it works - it greatly enhances your security! You can see for yourselves. Ever since Obama was elected were there any right wing extremist terrorist attacks? No. Were there even any attempted right wing extremist terrorist attacks? No. That proves beyond any doubt that this surveillance program is 100% effective in foiling their plans and defeating the real terrorist threat. So don't be such sourpusses and get with the program.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
YES! Finally somebody slaps some sense into the National Review! Rich Lowry is running that magazine into the ground with his effete pro-bailout Establishmentarianism!

" (For their own part, the conservative elite have waltzed their way into the dunce corner all by themselves with the argument that national security trumps everything. Memo to NRO, Commentary et al — it doesn’t. It never has.)"
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
This is the most disgusting moment of all for obama. Yes this program might be legal, and yes Bush started it on a smaller scale. But Obama, the damn lying hipocrite, won election when he specifically campaigned to end it, and then went Bush * 10. And while unnecessarily spying on every american in the nation, plus faithful allies like Gemany and India, he ended the one tactic in the war on terror that might have really helped, FBI infiltration of mosques, because of PC anti profiling demands from CAIR. Note to the left, you voted for this POS, twice, not me, I hope you are happy.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
Obama ordered that the one surveillance tactic that actually worked, and produced successful results, be stopped- at request of CAIR - AKA Jihadists USA-- no mosques may be infiltrated or watched or listened in on- the mosques where ALL the homegrown Jihads have been inspired to murder, & made their connections --http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials/061213-659753-all-intrusive-obama-terror-dragnet-excludes-mosques.htm

makes as much sense as searching everyone at airports except the burka brigade
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
A powerful, prophetic article, Mr. Dunn. Beautifully written and, unfortunately, precisely accurate. The 51% who put us into this cauldron will not deliver us. We will all boil away into oblivion. History will forget the glory of America and what it took to build it.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
Time for a flat tax? Strike while the iron is hot, and "never let a crisis do to waste!" --Thanks Rahm!
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
It's time to exterminate the Federal leviathan and those who run it.
III
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
I've been wasting time reminding the Leftoids over at Talking Points Memo and other threads rationalizing this that if it continues at some point the states may take matters into their own hands and start arresting NSA officials for warrantlessly wiretapping their states' citizens. They reply as if I have three heads and say it's impossible for state officials to arrest federal officials. WRONG. Just as the NSA boys think it's impossible should their data mining be used for black bagging or mass arrests for them to take any incoming. It's not. If the Taliban could get inside the wire so easily in Kabul, what makes them think they're going to feel safe should the SHTF?
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
What an amazing piece.

The Sheep Look Up.

Indeed.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
This scandalpalooza is nothing more than the Press finally doing its job. If they had done this all along, Obama would not have been elected. In fact, most of these clowns in office would never have been elected.

Obama said he was going to give us "the most transparent government" blah, blah, blah. The government does not give us transparency. Most of them cannot find their fundaments with two hands and a flashlight in their mouth. The Press provides the transparency. That's their job, and they haven't been doing it. They are now, because the government made the mistake of alienating them.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
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